Updates on COVID-19
UNC Research Responds to COVID-19 (Updated 6/4/2021)
The University is actively managing the impact of COVID-19 on our community. UNC’s research labs and facilities remain open and operating, with appropriate safety measures in place.
For more information on the University’s response to COVID-19, the Carolina Together Testing Program, and our COVID-19 Community Standards, please visit CarolinaTogether.unc.edu.
New Research Guidelines Effective June 1
Some restrictions are being lifted. Others will remain in place.
COVID-19 Research Participation Opportunities
- Research for Me
- Hosted by the NC TraCS Institute, Research for Me’s COVID-19 projects page lists study opportunities for potential participants. Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are frontline healthcare workers, or wish to help researchers better understand the pandemic’s impact can find a meaningful ways to participate in research happening at UNC and UNC Health.
Key Takeaways for UNC Researchers
- Research operations in facilities and labs on campus are operational. Guidelines are available here.
- The research deans of individual schools and the College of Arts & Sciences have responsibility for deciding how their units’ research operations will be managed, consistent with University guidelines and other measures to ensure safety.
- The OVCR’s research support offices remain fully operational continue to provide full support to the research enterprise.
- UNC researchers must follow specific guidelines while working on campus, including monitoring health and reporting onset of symptoms, wearing University-approved face masks inside facilities, and adhering to specified sanitation and hygiene practices.
- There are two COVID-19 trainings offered by UNC Environment, Health and Safety: COVID-19 Positive Process and Protecting the Carolina Community from COVID-19. They can both be accessed through the COVID-19: Carolina Campus Training page.
- Human subjects research that requires participant contact should adhere to these guidelines.
- The Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) has maintained its care and support for research animals throughout the period of the pandemic and has provided guidance on working in animal labs and facilities. When working in animal facilities, coordinate with the DCM staff to maintain appropriate distancing and other safety procedures.
- The Office of Human Research Ethics and the Office of Animal Care and Use are receiving and reviewing protocols normally and board meetings are proceeding on schedule.
- COVID-19 restrictions on university related domestic travel previously issued by the UNC System Office are rescinded. Students and employees should continue to follow the latest CDC guidance on domestic travel. Because the severity of COVID-19 conditions still vary internationally, foreign travel remains restricted. Exceptions for international travel may be granted only by the Chancellor or Provost, as detailed on UNC Global’s website.
- Information on changes to University parking policies and public transit can be found at the University Transportation & Parking website.
- NIH, NSF, and DoD have released guidance permitting flexibility during the COVID-19 situation. Specifically, NIH permits salaries to continue to be charged to grants even if there is a work stoppage caused by the pandemic. NIH and other agencies permit travel costs to be charged if the travel was disrupted by COVID-19 and those costs cannot be refunded.
- Specific questions about research operations during the outbreak should be directed to staff in the relevant research administration offices. These offices are open and continue to serve our researchers.
active COVID-19 research projects at the university (UNC community only; log in with your onyen before searching.).
- COGR’s Web Page on Institutional and Agency Responses to COVID-19 and Additional Resources (Including COGR’s FAQs)
- COGR’s Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19’s Impact on Federal Awards (Version 2.1) (March 31, 2020) has been revised to include updates to agency guidance.
- FAQ Addendum with new FAQs developed from questions from the membership which will be updated weekly as additional information becomes available.
- Federal Agency Guidance Matrix with several major grant-making agencies updated weekly as additional guidance becomes available. (March 31, 2020)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- NIH Extramural Response to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies
- NIH Extramural FAQs on Natural Disasters and Emergencies
- NIH COVID-19 Late Application Policy
- NIH Guidance on Travel and Meetings
- NIH General FAQs on Proposal Submission & Award Management During COVID-19
- Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) Disaster Planning & Response Resources
- Flexibilities Available to NIH Applicants and Recipients of Federal Funding Affected by COVID-19
- FAQs on COVID-19 Flexibilities for NIH Applicants and Recipients
- General Webpage for NIH Coronavirus Information
- NIH Message to Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funds on Flexibilities Needed for COVID-19
- Guidance for NIH-funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies Affected by COVID-19
National Science Foundation
- NSF Guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus due to Loss of Operations
- Repurposing Existing Federal Financial Assistance Programs and Awards to Support the Emergency Response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- NSF Implementation of OMB Memorandum M-20-17
- NSF: COVID-19 FAQs for Proposers and Awardees
- Impact on Existing Deadline Dates
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Department of Defense (DoD)
Department of Energy (DoE)
National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (March 19, 2020)
- Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (March 9, 2020)
Council on Governmental Regulations (COGR)
- A list of funding opportunities related to COVID-19 is being maintained by the Office of Research Development.
- Memo: Safety Procedures During 2020 Research Ramp-up
- COVID-19 Guidance from DCM Management for Labs Using Animal Models
- Update and Guidance from Office of Animal Care and Use
- OLAW Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care Webinar
COVID-19 FAQs for these offices are under development based on inquires being received from the research community.
Clinical research that provides an immediate benefit for the health and well-being of a participant should continue; however, going forward, this work will be subject to guidance and direction from UNC Health. The UNC Health coronavirus websiteshould be consulted for direction regarding such research.
- Resumption of Human Subject Research (May 26, 2020)
- OHRE/IRB COVID-19 Update and FAQs (March 10, 2020)
- The Temporary Policy on Human Subjects-Related Research Visits at UNC-CH.
- FAQs for researchers on the new policy.
- Temporary Policy Change Re: External Visitors to UNC Health Care Investigational Drug Services (IDS) during COVID-19 Outbreak
The individual COI Committees will meet remotely as needed and the COI Chairs continue to assess the expedited reviews. Reports or certifications to sponsors such as organizational COI or FCOI reports are continuing to be processed and submitted as needed.
COVID-19 FAQs for this office are under development based on inquires being received from the research community.
- COVID-19 Shared Leave Program Policy (Sept 2, 2020)
- FAQs on administrative leave, telework, mandatory employees, benefits, and other work policies (updated regularly)
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (May 1, 2020)
- UNC System Office Guidance on Temporary Suspension of All Non-Essential Human Resource Actions (March 30, 2020)
- UNC System COVID-19 Work-Leave Provisions for April (March 27,2020)
- Information for postdoctoral scholars from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (March, 2020)
- All research employees should consult the University’s COVID-19 telework guidance and confer with their supervisors to confirm the degree to which they may work remotely.
- UNC Pandemic and Communicable Disease Emergency Policy (includes “mandatory employee” policy)